“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”
The last twenty-four hours have been truly draining for us as a couple and as a part of a larger family. Cliches like being “put through the wringer” suddenly ring true in a way that you wouldn’t normally understand so corporeally. At this very moment, my body aches more than my heart, as my mind is dulled from lack of sleep and spent emotions.
Yesterday afternoon, one of my dearest and oldest friends delivered a beautiful, perfect little girl. The medical world might not apply the label of “perfect”, what with tiny organs barely functioning at 31 weeks and a grim prognosis from months prior, but we think she was perfect. And no one would deny she was beautiful. A full head of dark hair and perfectly formed fingers and toes, nails and all. A perfect little nose and bright brown eyes. Perfect.
Our little angel fought hard all night, and our Alaskan family gathered around and we embraced each other, physically and spiritually, willing this new family of three to keep on surviving. Tyler stayed up all night watching over our baby girl, a miracle in itself if you remember his aversion to any tools of modern medicine. Her parents, exhausted beyond my imagination, caught a couple hours of desperately needed sleep, gathering the energy to face a new day. They were so strong and so steady.
This morning, after a brave long night, Jesus saw fit to return our sweet baby to His arms. She is now more perfect than ever. Now she can dance in fields of sunflowers, as we received in a vision the Lord gave to a friend.
The parents are resting in God’s promise that He is good and His will is perfect. The beauty of Christianity is in the tension, and here we see it so clearly. Broken yet at peace. Mourning yet not despairing. Longing yet thankful. These two friends of ours have been the perfect parents to their baby girl. They were exactly who and what she needed during her life here. They will always be her parents, and she is their firstborn. We are so honored to be with them during this long trek through the valley of the shadow of death, the darkest valley. We loved meeting our beautiful niece– by heart if not blood– and we dream of her joy in heaven tonight.
As you think of us and our Alaskan family here, please be in prayer. We’re not out of the valley yet.